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Role Model 101 - Erik Ainge

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Aaron Haddock




Our culture is in dire need of role models, and with that said I would like to introduce to you Erik Ainge. Nobody is perfect, this we know. Some people may perceive a person as perfect but the truth is that they are far from it. The only thing a person can do to try and be as “perfect” as possible to do good deeds, be considerate, excel in life and give it their all in tough situations. There is someone that I believe everyone should get to know about, that person is Erik Ainge. He is the starting quarterback for the highly ranked Tennessee Volunteers. He goes above and beyond in the classroom, while performing excessive community service and playing college football. Throughout this essay I will discuss with you many different aspects of this fine young man. I’ll let you know how he was when he was young, how he evolved to be a great student athlete, and how Erik excelled in life.

When Erik Ainge was young, he was a very gifted athlete. He was always taller than most (His father was 6’5”) and his parents (Doug and Diane Ainge) taught him how demonstrate good sportsmanship in his athletics. He was an outstanding football, basketball, and baseball player. His father Doug played college basketball, and his uncle, Danny Ainge, played professional baseball with the Toronto Bluejays, followed by a productive career as a professional basketball player (now the general manager of a professional basketball team, the Boston Celtics.) Erik dreamt of playing professional basketball or football when he grew up. Through his hard work and discipline, Erik made all of the competitive all-star teams when he was in grade school, and all the way through junior high. Outside of sports was no different. His parents made sure he would not only grow up to be a great role-model, but also that he needed to get the job done in the classroom in order to have a productive career down the road.

Once high school came, this would be the time to see if he would lose focus of his goals, or take a step forward to his dreams. Like Mr. Ainge has done his whole life, he not only went above and beyond in sports, but his grades were excellent. Erik saw his first varsity football action as a freshman. He was still learning the ropes as a sophomore and saw limited playing time. He also received his first �B’ grade in a class in high school during his sophomore year.

Erik started to get recognized nationally for football during his junior year. He was receiving scholarships from a plethora of different schools for both sports. Oregon, Washington, Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona State, California, and Tennessee were all in the mix and trying to draw him to come and attend their University. He didn’t let all of the attention get to his head, and stayed on his path. As usual, he excelled in the class room with all A’s a junior. After his senior year in football, and setting many school records, Erik Ainge decided to choose the University of Tennessee to play his college football at. This was a huge deal with the community and the school because Tennessee was a powerhouse college for football.

Erik Graduated from Glencoe High School with a 3.9 GPA, being honored as a Salutatorian. He didn’t have but 2 weeks after graduating before having to leave and go the University of Tennessee and start training camp with the team.

He started for Tennessee as a freshman and set the Tennessee Freshman record for TD passes by a freshman, and passing yards by a freshman. He led a productive freshman campaign before sustaining a season ending shoulder injury with 3 games left in the season. Erik rehabbed during the off-season, keeping his mind on his school and getting back to top form for next football season.

His sophomore season was a disaster. The coaches could not decide on whom to start, Erik, or a senior who proved himself during training camp. When it was all said and done, Erik and the senior Rick Clausen switched each game. The whole season was a waste, as the Volunteers failed to reach a bowl game for the first time in 22 years.

His junior season came and it started with a bang. Erik beat a top 10 football team to start the season, and was gaining not only respect from everyone, but also Hiesman notoriety (Award given to the best college football player that year.) He suffered an injury to his ankle half way through the season but the team still has gone 7-3 so far and looking to finish 10-3 this year.

Erik Ainge is a role model to all. He is someone who has to face a lot of adversity on a daily bases, and the pressure can mount on him like he is carrying a mountain on his back but he still rises above it and takes any challenge head on. Yes, it sounds like he has had an easy life, getting his college paid for, playing football, and earning outstanding grades, but you have to take into consideration a couple of things. He had worked his but off to play sports a child. A lot of athletes these days in collegiate and professional sports are ignorant and have no class whatsoever, but Erik shows that you can be a good athlete and a good role model while succeeding in athletics and school. His parents were a big inspiration to him while growing up



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